01/11/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 60 minute CD. Price: CD: £ 8.99 (UK), download: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-381-1) cast: Mary Tamm.
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
Romana and the Doctor are on holiday in Antibes, the Riviera, 1929. It's a pleasant place for a break. She's finishing her thesis and the Doctor is practising his painting. They're both Time Lords so there are no restrictions on where to go.
They meet a supporting cast of characters straight out of an Agatha Christie novel and the only thing missing is Miss Christie herself. First we have an odd Astrologist, Madam Arcana, who makes dire predictions about the stars and the future. Then there is doe-eyed Tommy who dotes on Romana whilst overlooking a perfectly decent girl who dotes on him. With a mysterious industrialist who is loathed one minute and adored the next and tennis playing sweet young things, this is jazz age Science Fiction.
The action centres on the strange behaviour of the Socialites and the mystery in the strange cave along the beach. Events at a party on a fabulous yacht convince Romana that something serious is going on.
Mary Tamm acts it out well and the tale is good enough with a suitable sting in its conclusion is worthy of a large special effects budget on film. The Agatha Christie overtones make the listener at ease with the setting and time period and although it's earthbound, there is plenty of extra-terrestrial activity.
My complaint is about the character of Romana. There is nothing there to hang your hat on. She is bland and colourless, in other words just as she was in the original TV series. What a waste of an opportunity to put some life into the girl. For heaven's sake, give her something to do. She's a Time Lady not a Companion. She should be the Doctor's equal and well able to solve everything herself. The Doctor's off-screen presence adds nothing to this story, it is unnecessary.
Overall, a fun story in itself but doesn't add to the character of Romana and the Doctor feels absent anyway.
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